I have really enjoyed reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. (I am presenting my synopsis of this book at our First Friday Book Synopsis this Friday). It is a terrific book, reminding us that nearly half of the people around us are introverts — many of them “faking” a little extroversion, because such extroversion is so expected and demanded in an extroversion heavy world.
Ms. Cain argues persuasively that we need to let introverts be a little more like introverts in the workplace. I was especially struck by her description of the rise of Dale Carnegie (the person, and then his still-prominent “industry,” found in the the Dale Carnegie books and courses. Take a look:
Dale observes that the students who win campus speaking contests are seen as leaders, and he resolves to be one of them. He signs up for every contest and rushes home at night to practice.
The new economy calls for a new kind of man—a salesman, a social operator, someone with a ready smile, a masterful handshake, and the ability to get along with colleagues while simultaneously outshining them. Dale joins the swelling ranks of salesmen, heading out on the road with few possessions but his silver tongue. Dale’s last name is Carnegie (Carnagey, actually; he changes the spelling later, likely to evoke Andrew, the great industrialist).
…the class is an overnight sensation, and Carnegie goes on to found the Dale Carnegie Institute.
“In the days when pianos and bathrooms were luxuries,” Carnegie writes, “men regarded ability in speaking as a peculiar gift, needed only by the lawyer, clergyman, or statesman. Today we have come to realize that it is the indispensable weapon of those who would forge ahead in the keen competition of business.”
Carnegie’s metamorphosis from farmboy to salesman to public-speaking icon is also the story of the rise of the Extrovert Ideal.
It’s this line that is so telling:
The new economy calls for a new kind of man—a salesman, a social operator, someone with a ready smile, a masterful handshake, and the ability to get along with colleagues while simultaneously outshining them.
Dale Carnegie rose to the opportunity and circumstances of his new era. He became more extroverted personally, and in the process helped many others, for decades to come, also become more extroverted. But in so doing, he set in motion a set of expectations that, to this day, leave us just a little “out-of-balance.” And, partly with Susan Cain’s help, we are learning that there is a great need for the Quiet, the reflective, the solitary worker, to work in his/her “natural zone” to get some serious work done. Even for the extroverts among us (yes, I fall pretty far toward the extroversion end of the spectrum), we need some “quiet disciplines.” We need the introverts to help us get our work done, in business and in life.
If you are an introvert, and/or if you work with some introverts, or are married to one, read this book. It will help you understand, and work better with, those who fit at that introversion end of the spectrum.
If you are in the DFW area, come join us for this is synopsis. (Click here to register).
Here is a brief excerpt from an article written by George Dohrmann and published in Sports Illustrated magazine (March 5, 2012).
As I began to read the article, I was reminded of a poem, Ozmandias, written by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822 ) and first published in 1818:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Here is the excerpt from Dohrmann’s article. To read all of it, please click here.
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This story appears in the March 5, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated. Buy the digital version of the magazine here.
On the evening of Nov. 6, 2007, legendary former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden (1910-2010) spoke to about 600 Bruins student-athletes and coaches. The occasion was the debut of The Wooden Academy, a seminar series in which former UCLA athletes and coaches returned to campus to describe how the tenets from Wooden’s Pyramid of Success had helped them in college or life.
Wooden was 97 years old at the time. He spoke while seated in a padded chair on a small stage just off the baseline of the basketball court at Pauley Pavilion. To his left was a microphone stand with a long arm attached, which positioned the microphone so that Wooden could sit back in his seat.
Wooden talked about some of the players he had coached, and recited the 15 blocks in his Pyramid, which include cooperation, self-control, team spirit and intentness. Wooden also used a metaphor that will ring familiar to readers of his books. Think of a team as a train, he said, and its star player as the locomotive. There is much more to a train than just that engine. If any part of a train fails, if just one nut or bolt gives away, the whole chain of cars can derail.
At the time of Wooden’s talk, UCLA’s basketball program was one of the smoothest-running trains in the country. The Bruins had made consecutive Final Fours and would reach a third in 2008 behind freshman Kevin Love, the team’s new locomotive, who was in the audience that November evening. UCLA coach Ben Howland would join Tom Izzo and Mike Krzyzewski as the only active coaches to lead teams to three straight Final Fours. Howland’s reputation for teaching defense and instilling discipline made him appear to be cut from Wooden’s cloth.
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To read the complete article, please click here.
As Ozmandias exemplifies, few pyramids survive that were built to commemorate pride and arrogance.
My own opinion is that, if anything, Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success is stronger today than ever before. He formulated it before his first season of coaching basketball at Dayton High School in Kentucky in 1932. FYI, he was a three-time All-State and All-American in high school and a three-time All-American at Purdue in college. The high school teams he coached had a combined record of 218-42 and the college teams he coached had a combined record of 664-162. Moreover, UCLA won ten NCAA championships, including nine consecutively (1963-1973).
He never measured “success” in terms of games won, even championship games. For Coach Wooden “success” could only be measured in terms of one’s qualities of character.
- Helping people stay well by helping them take steps to prevent cancer or detect it early, when it’s most treatable
- Helping people get wellby being in their corner around the clock to guide them through every step of their cancer experience
- Finding curesby funding groundbreaking research that helps us understand cancer’s causes, determine how best to prevent it and discover new ways to cure it
- Fighting back by working with lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and rally communities worldwide to join the fight
Here is an excerpt from another excellent article in Jeff Haden‘s “Owner’s Manual” series for Inc. magazine. To read the complete article, check out other online resources, and obtain information, please click here.
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Forget about raises and better benefits. Those are important — but this is what your staff really wants.
Getting a raise is like buying a bigger house; soon, more becomes the new normal.
Higher wages won’t cause employees to automatically perform at a higher level. Commitment, work ethic, and motivation are not based on pay.
To truly care about your business, your employees need these eight things—and they need them from you.
[Actually, here are three of the eight. To read the complete article, please click here.]
1. Freedom. Best practices can create excellence, but every task doesn’t deserve a best practice or a micro-managed approach. (Yes, even you, fast food industry.)
Autonomy and latitude breed engagement and satisfaction. Latitude also breeds innovation. Even manufacturing and heavily process-oriented positions have room for different approaches.
Whenever possible, give your employees the freedom to work they way they work best.
2. Targets. Goals are fun. Everyone—yes, even you—is at least a little competitive, if only with themselves. Targets create a sense of purpose and add a little meaning to even the most repetitive tasks.
Without a goal to shoot for, work is just work. And work sucks.
3. Mission. We all like to feel a part of something bigger. Striving to be worthy of words like “best” or “largest” or “fastest” or “highest quality” provides a sense of purpose.
Let employees know what you want to achieve, for your business, for customers, and even your community. And if you can, let them create a few missions of their own.
Caring starts with knowing what to care about—and why. Employees will care about your business when you care about them first.
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Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business.